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When I was a child, I remember most cars having a grounding strip, like the one in the picture below:

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But nowadays, I don't see any car having them. What is the reason they have disappeared / become unneeded?

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    Because they were about as useful as the furry dice... Another marketing thing was they were to reduce travel or motion sickness...
    – Solar Mike
    Jun 19, 2019 at 17:04
  • One possible claimed use may have been to reduce static charge, however these days at least that’s generally generated as you slide out of the seat, and since the grounding strip may not make good contact with the ground, eg if it comes to rest on (highly insulating) concrete then it won’t have an opportunity to discharge. Besides, the occupant will be charged as much as the vehicle itself and so it would be more effective to attach a grounding strip to the occupant, or more simply to get into the habit of holding a metal part of the bodywork or door while alighting.
    – Frog
    Feb 19 at 20:30
  • Sorry to resurrect an old question, but when was this? I am old enough to remember early '70s cars as being new and most of the cars in my families stable to be of '60s vintage, and we never had these nor do I remember any of the cars in my neighborhood having them. I do remember a few of the neighbors having curb feelers though. So while I am not saying they did not exist, and they do seem vaguely familiar, I cannot believe they were common.
    – Glen Yates
    Mar 21 at 22:06
  • @GlenYates, I was born in '72, and I remember it from cars in France when I was little. We went to the United States around '83 and I don't remember seeing it in cars there (although it's not like I was looking for them, so I could have missed it). My dad had an old Peugeot car that had one from the factory.
    – Thomas
    Mar 21 at 22:39

5 Answers 5

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Primary reason would be that vehicle electrical systems ground to the body, not to earth. They're effectively useless.

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    The role at the time was to avoid shock when touching cars since they're isolated from the earth, through the tires, and would build up static electricity, presumably through air friction. I don't think it had anything to do with the electrical system of the car.
    – Thomas
    Jun 19, 2019 at 17:00
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Back in the day we would often explain away customers complaints about static shocks as the fault of fiber glass belted tires. They were the cheaper alternative to steel belted tires. Maybe they were the cause or it was an excuse to upsell to steel-belts.

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My Espaces (several over the years) all with fibreglass bodies, often gave me a shock presumably from built up static. Food for thought - never on wet days. Never tried a grounding strip, but feel that with one, static would automatically go to earth through one rather than through me.

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Stops getting a shock from touching the bodywork especially old fashioned chromed door handles. More importantly reduced the risk of spark between fuel nozzle and metal filling pipe on the car. All aircraft fuelling is done after attachment of earthed crocodile clamp for this reason.....even when handling kerosene used in jet engines despite a much lower flash point than petroleum.

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    I understand the original intent, but the question is why have they disappeared? Today there is no grounding of the cars, so how are the same problems handled?
    – Thomas
    Oct 16, 2021 at 16:11
  • Kerosene has a much higher flash point (40C) than petroleum (-38C).
    – Frog
    Feb 19 at 19:59
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If memory serves me correctly the addition of carbon to the rubber of the tire rendered grounding straps no longer needed to dissapate static. This is due to the fact that carbon is highly conductive and achieves the same effect.

I am old enough to remember getting shocks from vehicles especially when coming out of one. I had one shock that burnt a small hole in my fingernail.

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  • Surely carbon has always been used in tyres, that’s why they are typically black, no?
    – Frog
    Feb 19 at 19:57

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